May weather isn’t always a good indication of what’s to come during the summer around the province.
The wettest May on record occurred in 2017 and, yet, that summer’s wildfire season turned out to be one of the worst on record.
Conversely, a dry May in 2020 didn’t hold up through June and into early July with a mixed bag of weather that was far from summer-like.
Again, May 2021 has followed suit from April with predominantly dry conditions around the Island.
Just 29 millimetres of rain was recorded by Chris Carss, a volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment Canada, at his Chemainus home during the month. The normal May yields 50.9 mm.
Interestingly, temperatures were generally lower at the same time, with a mean daily maximum of 17.4 degrees Celsius compared to the normal of 18.1 C and a mean minimum that matched the normal of 8.9 C. The extreme maximum of 24.5 C was only reached at the end of the month on May 31, with the minimum of a chilly 5.0 C on May 8.
But the number of days that were mostly or partly sunny and dry stood out at 20. The normal is just 13.
“As expected, May 2021 turned out to be another mostly springlike month like last year, but unlike Mays during much of the 2010 decade that often marked the beginning of the main season of summer weather,” noted Carss. “There were a few brief summer previews around mid-May, but temperatures generally averaged about a half degree below normal the rest of the time.
“More in keeping with summer was the rainfall which occurred with about average frequency during the month, but yielded only a little more than 50 per cent of the normal total accumulated amount for May. A few shots of hail livened things up a bit on May 7, but didn’t add much to the monthly total. As might be expected for such a dry month, the total number of mostly or partly sunny days without rainfall was a good 50 per cent above normal. An additional four days had a mix of sun and showers, bringing the overall total of mainly or partly sunny days to 24.”
On Thetis Island, Keith Rush recorded even less rainfall at his Foster Point Road residence with just 20.9 mm. The normal there is 53.2 mm and the average May yields 37.2 mm.
Rush noted the accumulated precipitation from March, April and May of 67.1 mm is the lowest in his 13 years of record keeping.
June started with a warm spell, but Carss indicated the summer weather isn’t expected to stick around for another week until after June 10.
“After that, temperatures and sunshine should return to above normal values while rainfall should remain below normal as it was for most of the spring season,” he added.